The 37th annual Santa Barbara Vintners Festival will return to Santa Maria’s Rancho Sisquoc Winery on Saturday, when winemakers and winery owners will pour from their collections and answer wine-related questions. 

Northern Santa Barbara County is renowned for world-class pinot noir, chardonnay and syrah.

Held from 1 to 4 p.m., the festival will feature over 70 wineries, many pouring newly released wines. In addition to tasting from locally grown varietals, festivalgoers will enjoy local food purveyors, live music, culinary and wine demonstrations, and a silent auction. 

Given the unique transverse geography of Santa Barbara County's wine-producing valleys, micro-climates are created, allowing for a wide range of grapes to be grown. Attendees will get a behind-the-scenes look at how wine is made in the region with a day of wine education that includes: museum-like displays providing insight into the winemaking world; watching a cooper make barrels; witnessing the wine-bottling process; and barrel-tasting at the winery itself.

Should festivalgoers desire a full weekend of tasting, a $50 Wine Country Tasting Pass is available, offering guests 12 tastings from over 40 different wineries within the county, to be redeemed between May 2 and May 6.

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Other ticket options include: Early Entry VIP access ($100), which allows holders access to the Santa Barbara Vintners Festival an hour before it opens to the public; General Admission ($75); Locals Only ($60); and Designated Drivers and Under 21 ($25).

Rancho Sisquoc is part of a 37,000-acre cattle ranch and farm purchased in 1952 by current property owners, Mr. and Mrs. James Flood. The ranch is part of an 1852 Mexican land grant and the Chumash Indians called the area "Sisquoc,” which meant "gathering place.”

Guests who are staying at any Santa Maria Valley hotel receive a special pass that includes tastings at Santa Maria Valley area tasting rooms. For more information about the event or to purchase tickets to the festival, visit www.sbvintnersweekend.com.

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Lisa André covers Valley Life for Santa Ynez Valley News.